The Rundown: Cubs Post-Hit Waves Explained, Trade Rumor Updates, Maddon’s Hometown Featured

The wave in its traditional format is tired and bad and should be retired posthaste. The little celebratory acknowledgement Cubs players give to the dugout following hits, however, is totally badass and worthy of much celebration and analysis. Or not, but that’s apparently where we are now.

As Jesse Rogers explained thoroughly Thursday, the customizable new ritual that looks like the mutant bastard offspring of the helmet rub sprang forth post-break as a way for the Cubs to have a little fun.

Yes, the Cubs (49-45) are literally waving at each other — first from the dugout to the hitter who reached base, then from the hitter back to the dugout in acknowledgement. The twist is that the baserunner can freestyle with any creative gesture he chooses.

Again, the cameras are catching the craze, and fans are starting to take notice. But there’s a catch: The runner on first must acknowledge his teammates, or he will be harassed by them.

A gesture that started with Zobrist, in which he puts out his hand and extends it forward in a thrusting manner, has spread to teammates who want to add a message about Chicago’s mission to the fun of celebrating.

Said the World Series MVP of the meaning of the twist he added to the motion: “We want to take the second half and pin it up against the wall and leave it there until we’re done with it at the end of the year.”

Rogers traced the lineage of the new craze back to Kyle Schwarber, whose previous means of letting his teammates know he’d safely reached first base would not be fit to print in its entirety. I guess he took “Try not to suck” to heart and toned it down this time.

And even if this thing is lame as hell, I’m not sure how it’s worth a whole post on a nationwide platform. Though I think Rogers’ description did make it seem a even more contrived and dorky than what it really is, which is just a fun little gag among teammates. And this is what happens when your team gets really good and everyone who’s not a fan has to hear about it all the time.

But y’all haterz best beware:

Latest on trades

According to reports from various sources, the Astros are trying to get all the pitchers. They’re seen as the frontrunners for Sonny Gray, have checked on Justin Verlander (though the interest there is said to be mild, and now they’re apparently at the top of the list when it comes to Zach Britton.

Those are all names with whom the Cubs have been linked as well, though their pursuit may be limited to that of foil. I mean, I’m sure they’d love to have a couple of these guys on the roster, but the cost might be prohibitive at this point and the resultant value might not be worth what they’d have to give up.

Seeing Gray and/or Britton heading to their former division rival would be much better for the Cubs than the alternative, which is for Milwaukee to pick them up. The Brewers haven’t been mentioned in conjunction with the closer, but they have been tied to both Gray and Verlander. Already stocked with exciting young talent, a move to bolster their rotation could be what the Brewers need to take the next step.

However, and I doubt you’d hear them admit this, their recent skid and a lack of overall depth and health in the rotation might make them skittish when it comes to a big trade. Theo Epstein has the track record to be able afford getting cocky about emptying out the farm system, David Stearns isn’t quite there yet.

As far as what the Cubs are looking to do, we looked yesterday at their potential interest in Mike Minor and the backup catcher market that appears to be heating up. The Cubs are said to be the most aggressive suitors and best fit for the Tigers’ Alex Avila, and former Brewer Jonathan Lucroy has been mentioned as a possibility as well.

The Cubs, who made their big move at the break, acquiring left-hander Jose Quintana from the White Sox, still intend to acquire a left-handed reliever and backup catcher. Ken Rosenthal

Though he addressed them almost as an afterthought, Ken Rosenthal lent credence to the above reports of the Cubs’ targets in his Thursday night Facebook post.

“The Cubs, who made their big move at the break, acquiring left-hander Jose Quintana from the White Sox, still intend to acquire a left-handed reliever and backup catcher.”

And not long before this piece was set to run, we got info about the Cubs’ interest in Yu Darvish. Buckle up, folks, this is gonna be a fun few days.

HIP to be square

Many of you have probably heard of Joe Maddon’s Hazleton Integration Project, a charity based in the manager’s Pennsylvania hometown. We’ve worked with them on some fundraisers in the past and will again be partnering with HIP to raise some money at the Second Annual John Baker Day next month (more on that to come).

The foundation will be getting a little more publicity this Sunday evening with a feature on Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly that includes interviews with people of Hazleton and offers new insight into Maddon and his roots. According to HIP’s Bob Curry, this will be “the most comprehensive look at Joe Maddon’s hometown yet.”

The show airs Sunday, July 23 at 6pm CT.

More news and notes

  • The Twins acquired Jaime Garcia from the Braves for a minor leaguer
  • The Cardinals lost when Trevor Rosenthal (it was really him and not a fake account, I checked) failed to cover first. Oof.

  • Former Cubs Mike Olt, who is trying to work his way back to the majors, went 3-for-3 with a homer and 3 RBI for the Portland Sea dogs, AA affiliate of the Red Sox. One of the most surreal experiences of my life took place a couple years ago when I had a beer with Olt while watching Kris Bryant play center for the first time with the Cubs.
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